06
Aug
07

Ford will train dealers to get them in Sync

Ford is offering extra training to dealers and technical support to prepare them to explain the product to new and prospective car buyers, said Joe Hinrichs, Ford manufacturing vice president.

Sync is a hands-free wireless system that enables drivers to control cell phones and MP3 players through buttons on the steering wheel or through voice command.

The system can read text messages, select CD songs and be instructed to dial the phone by voice command. The advantage: Drivers don’t have to take their eyes off the road.

Ford is introducing the system this year and next as an option on the Ford Focus, Fusion and Taurus cars, Edge crossover, Explorer SUV and a host of Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. The Focus begins production late this month.

Continental AG is supplying the bulk of the electronic hardware, and Microsoft Corp. is supplying the software. For Continental, the Sync work was a key part of its $1 billion acquisition last year of Motorola Inc.’s automotive unit.

Hinrichs said Sync is expected to be a key product differentiator, so ease of use and quality are critical. That’s why Ford is training dealers to make sure they’re ready to sell it and educate drivers on how to use it.

He said: “We are putting a tremendous amount of resources on it because we see it as an exclusive opportunity for us to lead in this regard.”

You may e-mail David Barkholz at dbarkholz@crain.com

You may e-mail Richard Truett at rtruett@crain.com

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